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Documents show links between Prop. 8 campaign and church leaders [Updated]

Documents unveiled during today's federal same-sex marriage trial revealed close links between the Proposition 8 campaign and leaders of the Catholic and Mormon churches.

Over the objections of defenders of Proposition 8, challengers presented an e-mail that said the Catholic Church played a substantial role in providing volunteers and money to get the measure qualified for the ballot.

That e-mail, sent by the executive director of the Conference of Catholic Bishops to bishops and a cardinal, also said that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provided "financial, organizational and management contributions" to the campaign.

[Corrected at 4:08 p.m.: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said the e-mail was sent by a member of the executive committee of Protectmarriage.com.]

According to a Mormon Church document entered into evidence, the church was telling its members not to take the lead in promoting Proposition 8 but to support the measure through Protectmarriage.com.

The church document said a teleconference had been held in Salt Lake City with 159 of 161 Mormon leaders in California. The leaders were told to teach the church's beliefs about marriage and encourage members to contribute $30 each for Proposition 8, toward a projected goal of $5 million, in addition to general fundraising.

The challengers also presented a document that said Mormons were walking neighborhoods one day with 20,000 volunteers for Proposition 8, and that evangelicals organized teleconferences with as many as 3,000 pastors around the state in an effort to pass the marriage ban.

--Maura Dolan in the San Francisco federal courthouse

Comments () | Archives (57)

Tax the churches .....If they want to play politics I want them to pay to do it..
why do they still have tax exempt status after these findings.

Sounds like documentation of something everyone already knew. Have to wonder though why would church leaders, people that are to guide their congregations like sheperds guide their sheep, would ask the congregations to lie about where the money was coming from? It was pretty obvious to me how involved the Mormons were in Santa Clarita. For starters the school board briefly entertained the idea of supporting Prop 8. Something they realized very quickly would not be a good idea. Then for the last two weeks before the elections the mormon church down the street from me had a packed parking lot, spilling out into the streets, every night. And all the cars with the Utah license plates!

Can we withdraw tax exempt status for these kind folks now?

"Documents unveiled" is an example of language used to frame liberal spin in the leftist Times. Since when is it a grand revelation the church institutions oppose homosexual marriage on moral grounds. I guess the positions held by church groups are intolerable among the bastions of tolerance.

If this is the "smoking gun," I'm very disappointed. Lots of special interest groups do the same thing. I'm sure many gay marriage supporters campaigned against Prop. 8 as part of some larger organization, such as the Episcopalian church and United Churches of Christ.

Exactly, we have a separation of church and state. If a church wants to be a political force then they should have to pay taxes and play by the rules.

Because a separate organization is handling it, there is no way churches can be taxed. (By the way, I believe marriage should be blind to orientation but taxing churches isn't the way to go.)

What is the surprise that Christian leaders support laws and policies supportive of their moral theology? We just celebrated the birthday of a Christian leader who we remember because he brought Christian morality to bear on society using political means. Remember the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.?

By the way, there are churches that support the other side. My own Episcopal Church -- to my dismay-- is out front in support of same sex marriage.

interesting now the anti prop 8 people are figthing against churches. These people are not our friends. They seem to just care about their agenda. Please protect childrens rights. Every child has the right to a mother and father!

How many poor people who depend on missions, shelters, and soup kitchens to survive are making do with even less, or not getting fed at all, because the churches have decided that preserving bigotry and hypocrisy in regard to marriage--as opposed to preserving marriage itself--is a better use for their tax-exempt financial resources?

If Acorn gets a tax exemption then so too should the Church's.
At least the Church's aren't guilty of the illegalities of Acorn.

Also my friend, you are aware of the US Constitution? It states explicitly that there is a separation between Church and State? I believe it's the First Amendment, it was thought to be that important.

I agree!!!! Tax the churches - all of them. Or the Government/State needs to get out of the legalization of marriage business. This is a constitutional issue - case closed. TAX THEM!!!! Not only that, both the Catholic Church and Mormons need to be told they broke the law. Then need a slap and it needs to sting. Fine them both.

And by the way, no where in the constitution does it mention the Bible. However it specifically mentions equal protection under law. Devoted an entire amendment to it, the founding fathers felt it that important.

Indeed, Bert. Indeed...

bert, I couldn't agree more. these "religious organizations" should be subject to taxes just like everyone else, and if they truly are non-profit then they won't earn any profits to pay taxes on anyway.

I have a significant issue with these religious organizations playing in the political arena; this is a serious flaw within our government.

Sin...from the original Aramaic is an archery term which means missing the mark. Look up the etymology of it. It was never meant as a travesty against god and man. it simply meant that your aim was off.

Kristin...You're memory might be a bit hazy, but until not that long ago China was killing female children off because they were "inferior" to male children. This indicates a huge amount of prejudice on many levels, not just sexuality.

"Four score and seven years ago, our forefathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." Abraham Lincoln.

ILoveCA...So what you are telling us is that your morals are based on prejudice and not compassion...You say you don't care if gays marry, but you don't believe it is right. That is what we call a double standard. Here is a quote about that from the bible, since people are all about quoting it these days...Deuteronomy 24:13-16 ((Revised Standard Edition) You shall not have in your bag two kinds of weights. a large and a small. You shall not have in your house two kinds of measures an large and a small. A full and just weight you shall have, a full and just measure you shall have; that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you. For all who do such things, all who act dishonestly, you are an abomination to the Lord your God."

I Want This Over...Jesus issued Two Great Commandments which were to supersede all else. 1.) Love thy God with all thy heart, mind, and body. and 2.) Love thy neighbor as thyself. Do you understand what the second commandment means? How does taking away the rights of another group of people constitute love? It doesn't.

Jeremy...Do you know anything about Buddhism? If you did, you would know that Buddhists have no opinion on sexuality whatsoever. In fact, after attaining spiritual peace, you are free from any sexual thoughts, straight, gay, or otherwise. Buddha never had any kind of doctrine about gays or lesbians. Feel free to prove me wrong. How about a quote from Buddha? If you want, there is a Shambhala temple in Eagle Rock. You could maybe put in an inquiry there... And BTW- Buddhists don't believe in GOD...

And one more minor detail...Has anyone ever seen a Bible with GOD's signature as author? I haven't. I was raised Catholic and saw many bibles, and many versions of the Bible. I think it is more like what happens in Hollywood with screenplays. Someone writes it and then it gets passed through so many hands that be the time a finished product is seen, the original author doesn't want anything to do with it and requests their name be removed.

Obviously it is not news that certain religions were pushing Prop 8. What is revealing is the internal LDS memo that indicates that "this campaign (Prop 8) is entirely under the direction of the priesthood (church leaders in SLC)." (http://prop8trialtracker.com/2010/01/20/liveblogging-day-7-part-iii-afternoon-begins/)

This seems to be contrary to their statement that, "the Church accepted an invitation to participate in ProtectMarriage, a coalition of churches, organizations, and individuals sponsoring a November ballot measure, Proposition 8, that would amend the California state constitution to ensure that only a marriage between a man and a woman would be legally recognized." (http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/the-divine-institution-of-marriage)

The LDS Church tried to hide behind "the so-called coalition," but like it has been doing for well over a decade, they are directing the campaign behind false organizations set up to shield them from public criticism. (http://www.mormongate.com/document1.html)

You only need ask why, oh why, did the Prop 8 people fight to keep this email out of the trial?

Answer: Because it's legal importance to the legal issues in the trial cannot be overstated, that's why.

If the Prop 8 supporters thought the information in the email was obvious and inconsequential, they wouldn't have cared whether it was introduced into the trial as evidence.

But the did care. A lot.



Figures as a conservanut, you wouldn't recognize "reality" when it is staring you right in the face.

The problem is, in 1954, Congress made it ILLEGAL for tax-exempt groups to actively intervene and or interfere in a political campaign.. Most rational, clear thinking people know this, but then you aren't that smart now, are you?

The church want to play politics? Fine. I have no problem with that. Just so long as their tax exempt status is revoked.

It seems to me that if the churches are protected by the constitution from goverment interference, that we the people should have the right to not have the churches interfer in goverment religion matters.
If two people love each other they should have the right to join in marriage, the churches should not have the constitutional right to interfer in the people's rights.
What's good for the goose is good for the gander!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mark Osmond

For RealityCheck: How convenient that you chose to totally bypass the information in the article in order to make your insipid point. Sort of like the two churches did when they went undercover to support Porp. 8. For the ones mentioning taxing the church: Please, let's not cloud the issue. Let's stay on point here. There is a big enough fight going on without trying to tie into church tax-exempt status.

The Mormon and Catholic churches are in no meaningful way any different than the World Church of the Creator-- organizations dedicated to hate disguised
as churches... and now the proof is a matter of public record.

They are of course entitled to their backward opinions and hateful disposition, just as the rest of us are entitled to see them for the gross disfigurements they are.

And like the rest of us, if they want to run political advocacy campaigns, they should pay taxes too.

There were churches, religious groups, and cergly FIGHTING Prop 8 as well. So what?

Unions and various nonprofits support or oppose public policies all of the time. The teacher union fought Prop 8, for example.

A person can be an atheist and still support Prop 8.

I know lesbian partners, open lesbians, who do not believe it is "marriage" without a groom, and thus did not apply for a marriage license together.

The the fact is, people are allowed to vote for their own reasons, even if those reasons are religious.

There's a lot of testimony so far in this trial that really doesn't address the issues at hand.

We are allowed to amend our constitution. Men, women, gay or straight - people DO have equal access to marriage licensing, so the amendment does not violate the Constitution. Whether or not you want to exercise that access doesn't matter. Sorry, this is one example where the behavioral minority is going to have the accept the majority's way of doing things when it comes to public policy. Fortunately, your private and personal choices remain your own.

I don't see a problem with churches opposing homosexual conduct/marriages on a moral ground at all. People of faith cannot condone this type of behavior and should through the political process fight it as they try to ram down our throats.

This report makes it clear that these churches violated the terms of their Tax Exempt Status.

Perhaps these churches should retroactively pay taxes for the time period that they violated the law.

It seems to me that churches are suppose to defend their beliefs, such as marriage is a sacred covenant between a man and a woman.

What is happening to our constitution, e.g. free speech, freedom of religion, etc?

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